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Polack, J. Castoriadis, S. (1995). From the monad to autonomy: Cornelius Castoriadis. Free Associations, 5(2):123-149.

(1995). Free Associations, 5(2):123-149


From the monad to autonomy: Cornelius Castoriadis

Jean-Claude Polack and Sparta Castoriadis

Cofounder of the revolutionary group and journal Socialisme ou Barbarie (1948-1967), philosopher, social critic, professional economist, practicing psychoanalyst (since 1974), and Director of Studies (since 1980) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, Cornelius Castoriadis (b. 1922) is known to the readers of Free Associations as the author of “The First Institution of Society and Second-Order Institutions” (12, 1988) and as the subject of editor Paul Gordon's 1990 interview (24, 1991). He describes himself as close to the Fourth Group, the French-Language Psychoanalytic Organization, that is separate from the two French psychoanalytic associations recognized by the International Psychoanalytic Association, as well as from the now-defunct Lacanian “École Freudienne” (from which it split in 1968) and from the École's various successors. Castoriadis's writings on psychoanalysis include: “Epilegomena to a Theory of the Soul which has been presented as Science” (1968) and “Psychoanalysis: Project and Elucidation” (1977), both now in Crossroads in the Labyrinth (Brighton: Harvester, 1984); “The Social-Historical Institution: Individuals and Things” (1975, chapter 6 of The Imaginary Institution of Society [Cambridge: Polity, 1987]); “The State of the Subject Today” (1986; Thesis Eleven, 24 [1989]); “Reflections on Racism” (1987; Thesis Eleven, 32 [1992]); and “Logic, Imagination, Reflection” (1988; American Imago, 49:1 [Spring 1992]).

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